Gathering key writings from leading thinkers in cultural studies, cultural history, and museum studies, Representing the Nation: A reader explores the role cultural institutions play in creating and shaping our sense of ourselves as a nation.
With an international perspective focusing on the USA, France, Australia, the UK and India, leading figures and authors, including Tony Bennet, Ralph Samuel and Carol Duncan examine the way the past is preserved, represented and consumed as our ‘heritage’.
Written in three sections, the book examines:
- strategies involved in creating and sustaining a national culture
- the growth of heritage culture, from the founding of the National Trust in 1895 to the heritage acts of the 1980s
- why it has become important for nations to preserve the past and in whose name is it preserved and displayed
- the historical development of the public museum
- issues and difficulties facing museums today and the competing demands and interests of public funding bodies, tourists and local communities.
For the disciplines of both museum studies and cultural studies this will be vital reading material, and is also perfect as a course reader for a new MA in media and cultural studies.
David Boswell is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the Open University. Jessica Evans is Lecturer in Cultural and Media Studies at the Open University.